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Sony and Regal Cinemas Announce 4K Digital Projection Pact

by
May 18, 2009

Sony 4K projector

Are you aware that your local multiplex likely doesn't feature the very best in digital projection? That's right, most cinemas in this country are using 2K resolution projectors, which don't quite measure up to the look of film. But fortunately, Regal Entertainment Group is about to advance to the next level in digital cinema by equipping about 550 of its movie theaters with Sony's high end 4K resolution projectors, which obviously look twice as good as the 2K variety. According to the Hollywood Reporter, these projectors will be installed into a minimum of around 5,000 screens over the next three to five years in Regal theaters.

Regal isn't the first theater chain to make a deal with Sony Electronics for such a massive 4K projector rollout. Two months ago, AMC announced a similar pact with the projector manufacturer. Between the two cinema companies, Sony 4K projectors will soon be used in around 11,000 screens nationwide. The reason for the sudden 4K upgrade is that these systems have recently gone down significantly in price so that they're not that much more expensive than 2K. So, as part of the digital transitions being financed by Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, Regal and AMC are choosing the optimal experience for its customers.

I know, coupled with the recent IMAX controversy, it's becoming more of a headache to figure out if your local cinema offers the better of two exhibition options or not. And it's unclear whether Regal and AMC (both of which are part of Aziz Ansari's IMAX-based boycott) will advertise or make a distinction to customers regarding the projection systems they use (probably not). For the money, even if only slightly more, it would behoove them to inform everyone. And it would benefit you, as well, to see your films in 4K, if you can. Hopefully the third DCIP chain, Cinemark, will also be on board with digital 4K soon as well.

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  • Timothy
    Yay, I almost always go to Regal Theaters.
  • Tom
    Actually, 4K is four times the resolution of 2K and thus four times as good.
  • Moviegimp
    To my eyes digital is digital. Pretty sure I wouldn't see the difference and most movies goers won't care. Plus there are no Regal Cinemas here so there's that. I just want to know why you don't have the trailer here for the Superman (Brandon Routh ) is a crack addict movie, Life is Hot is Cracktown? It's over at apple.com, we need a talkback on this :) If this was featured already, then I missed it and apologize.
  • Dr Robotnik
    #2 - Did you fail math as a child? I do believe that 2 x 2 = 4, not 2 x 4 = 4. 4k is TWO times better, not FOUR, you fucking idiot.
  • Manshima
    Hey Dr - did you miss your coffe this morning? When you are talking resolution, going from 2K to 4K IS a 4x increase. And using language like that only makes you sound like the one who is mentally challenged.
  • MiKeDeEz
    Another reason to raise the ticket prices.
  • Tom
    LMAO @ #4. Just what exactly are you a "doctor" of anyway? I love it when dumb people try to come off as being smart. They're so cute. Let me spell it out for you since you obviously have no clue. DCI specs for 4K is 4096 x 2160 = 8,847,360, i.e. 8.8 megapixels. DCI specs for 2K is 2048 x 1080 = 2,211,840, i.e. 2.2 megapixels. Now, a little bit of differential geometry sprinkled with some algebraic number theory leads to this calculation: 8.8 / 2.2 = 4. Oh my god! It's a miracle! Word of advice junior. Next time, find out what the hell you're talking about before you go off spouting nonsense. It makes you look like, oh, how should I best express it...oh yeah, like a fucking idiot.
  • Wottock Hunt
    Hah yeah, Dr Robotnik is a dumbass, no doubt about it. Anyhoo, 2K with a good digital projector (like the most expensive Runco one) looks identical to film. I got to do a comparison in a local theater which has both. The screen size was about 60 feet wide. There's very little gain to be had by installing a 4K projector -- especially as the digital copies delivered on HDD to cinemas are in fact 2K.
  • And supposedly 4K is only really worth the trouble if you're in the first six rows. All this makes me just prefer actual film. Visible lab splices and all. But thanks for the correction, anyway, Tom. I understand where I erred, but I think I'm still somewhat correct in what I wrote. Then again, I'm not a tech guy, only a film guy. So, what would 4x better than 2K be?
  • Sony's 4k is twice as wide and twice as tall in resolution, so you can fit four 2k resolutions in one 4k resolution. This make the resolution 4 times more. Sony actually uses four 2k quadrants to make a 4k image. To the statements that 4k is twice as good or 4 times as good. Some people who make movies or have a part in how the image turns out on a digital projector debate about how the actual picture looks with a Sony 4K projector, though. It has to do with the black level and contrast ratio. These people say the 2k projectors more accurately represent how the movie was made. I work with these digital video projectors all the time, every day, and I like to watch my movies on film. As long as it is within a week of release and at an upscale movie theater. There is something seemingly more rich and calming about a film print as long as it hasn't been scratched up by the projectionist. I have heard that they have studied people watching a film print versus a digital print and the conclusion was that the calmness level is the same. I guess the study doesn't lie, but I know I feel more at ease with a film print. BTW, Dr Robotnik's comments are the best, I laughed out loud.
  • Mat
    What I'm hearing is that Sony's current 4k projectors are light hogs and only good for screens not larger than 45'. Until Sony (or someone) develops a 4k projector with better light output 2k is the way to go for screens larger than 45'. However, the Sony 4k does have higher lumens with 3D content than 2k. Also, there's arguments over whether the studios will be providing 4k content any time soon - rendering for the 'film-look' takes four times as long -besides, CGI is only rendered at 2k until some breakthroughs happen in that department. Do you think they'll invest in something that your average Joe like Dr. Robotnik wouldn't notice nor grasp the concept of? That being said, 4k does reduce the screen door effect considerably for those sitting in the first few rows... And can be promoted as something not available in the home theater...
  • SillySil
    Yeah Regal.
  • die4music
    4k projectors do have Sony 4k cine-alta HD cammeras. What I see in most of the negative comments relating to Sony .....they are from the jealous Xbox & Nintendo Users. Those Stupids when listen to any Sony news, the first thing that comes to their mind is PS3 Vs Xbox and Others. But for All the Sony Fans , I feel Proud for them , "As When A Elephant passes dogs shout." & elephant never bother.

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